Sunday, July 12, 2009

So, here we go!

I have 2 more hours to eat before I must fast in preparation for the port procedure tomorrow. What stinks is that the surgery is at 2pm and yet I can't eat/drink after midnight unless it's water to take pills...seems awfully unfair to me since they'd have said midnight if the surgery was 7am, know what I mean!? So at 11:45 pm, I am going downstairs for another dinner haha. The port procedure will be at UCLA this time so I'm not nervous like last time (you know, when I was going to have it done and had a horrific experience at the smaller hospital in the valley and walked out without having it done). Bob is home from his trip tonight so he'll be taking me down there tomorrow while my parents stay home with Cooper. I expect I'll be tired and sore afterward and will plan to do nothing but crawl into bed and sleep it off when we get back (probably around dinner time). Then, the next morning waking will be my first day of chemo. Wow. I can hardly believe it's time already. In a way it has seemed like ages to get to this point but now that it's here it feels like time flew by. Either way, I'm anxious to get it started since that brings me closer to getting it done with so I can say farewell to cancer and move on with my life - that's my plan. It's going to be a long journey though since I'm having 8 cycles. So, by spring time next year is when this chapter will be over (after chemo, radiation, and final reconstructive surgeries), if all goes as scheduled. It's a bit daunting to think I have a year of this ahead of me still, but then I look back on this past year and am amazed how quickly it went by in spite of the extreme sleep deprivation I endured during Cooper's first year with us - plus the crazy 5 months of bed rest before he arrived -- so if that can be a distant memory to me now, so will all of this next time this year. In preparation for this next phase I've been stocking up on my supplements, organic foods and products, medications for side effect management, hair pieces, scarves, and hats for baldness management, etc. ;) I've been scoping out all the local and online sources of organic products so I'll know where to go when I need something. I got a really cool yet simple black scull cap at a Harley Davidson dealership last week when my dad insisted on visiting this new Harley shop in town (he's a biker). I'm glad dad dragged us in there since I walked away with a couple of cool head pieces that will come in handy in about 2-3 weeks. I've been practicing building up my protein intake since the level of protein I must consume during chemo is more than twice my normal amount, and preparing meals and freezing them for easy access for those crummy days they said might come between days 3-8 of each cycle. I'm signed up for a more suitable support group at UCLA where there are several other women with triple negative breast cancer in my age range, and for one-on-one sessions with a great therapist there as well (what I found locally for those needs just weren't going to be right for me). I start physical therapy for range of motion and lymphedema prevention techniques on the 28th. All that's missing for this phase I think is that I need to start going to the yoga and meditation classes at the cancer support center - I've waited on that so that I can first get instructed by the physical therapist (who has to be certified on lymphedema prevention/management) on what movements are OK for my left arm because, believe it or not, even a slight wrong move or slightly too much pressure (i.e., pressing my palm on the floor and leaning in) can cause lymphedema to begin to develop. I have been so careful with my arm but sometimes I don't realize that certain things are dangerous til I read about it or talk to someone with the same risk. For instance, I'm not supposed to sleep on my left arm, or when seated at a table or desk I should not lean on that hand/arm in any way as it can disrupt the pressure balance and cause fluid accumulation thereby starting the development of lymphedema. That is going to be a challenge for me since I usually do lean on my left arm while doing any activity sitting down - but that's all changing now. Having my folks here has been a huge saving grace for me. They help with so much - with Cooper, around the house, and emotional support when I'm having a rough day, distracting me with simple yet perfectly wonderful outings that help keep me smiling. They're also learning so much about my new lifestyle (organic) and new risks (lymphedema) and on at least a few occasions this weekend my mom has reminded me to "switch arms" when I was about to do something that could be dangerous (pet an animal, put sharp utensils away, reach for something sharp, etc.). I'm so grateful to them for their help and support. I love you, Mom & Dad! So, now here I am - about to start chemo. I am planning to sail through it - to follow my doctors' advice: nutritional, medical, mind/body work, minimize side-effects and complications...but I'm surrounded by amazing people who love and support me and are ready to help if things should get rough (thank you for being in my "posse"!). I'm ready for this phase of this battle and I'm planning to win. So, here we go!


  1. Julie - Everything will go smoothly!! You are surrounded by an excellent team at UCLA - that is hard for me to say since I am a huge USC fan - who will guide you through this part of the journey!!! You have been proactive in doing all the right things to get through this.
    You have a lot coming up but believe me when I say that it will be over before you know it. It may not seem like it now but...

    Hang in there!!! I am here for you at any time.


  2. Hi, I enjoyed your blog. I am an Ovarian Cancer Survivor.

  3. I think its ironic that you can't sleep on your left side now, when that's all you could do for the 5 months you were on bedrest!

    Hope the port procedure went well and we'll be thinking about you tomorrow!

    Keep steppin!

  4. Thinking about you and hope everythiing is going as planned.